Grimes, Nikki. Thanks a Million. Ill. by Cozbi A. Cabrera. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2006.
Thanks a Million contains 16 poems that express gratitude about every day experiences of children. Although thematic by the same author, the collection has many forms including a rebus and haiku. Expressions of thanks can be found for a tutor, a new friend, weekends, and for not being alone even though the child is at a homeless shelter.
Most of the poems contain rhyme and it is done in a way that sounds natural. The word choice makes sense and doesn’t sound forced. “My baby brother’s such a chore/What do I have to watch him for?”
The last poem is aptly a Thanksgiving prayer, but the rest of the poems will point out to readers that thankfulness is an attitude to be expressed year-round in every day situations. The poems contain realistic emotions that children may have and give them a vehicle to express themselves. They will see they can express gratitude in letter, gifts, acts of service, words and sign language.
The artwork is done in bright acrylics. In some places it is not detailed and appears like folk art, but it adds to the emotion of the poem. In the illustration for “Scout’s Honor”, a child is shown holding up three fingers. While that may be most familiar to adults as a scout’s honor sign, to children, I think the Cub Scout sign (two fingers) would be more appropriate.
Children of all ages will enjoy the verse and artwork in this book where they will find at least one (if not several) poem they can relate to their life and feelings.
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “A lovely book for reflection and discussion.”
BOOKLIST: “…her [Cabrera] sunlit palette conveys the warm feelings and burnishes the skin tones of the many characters of color.”
*All of the poems would be appropriate to memorize and recite.
*Children can choose a poem to help them express thankfulness to a family member.
*More poetry by Nikki Grimes
Danitra Brown, Class Clown ISBN: 9780688172909
Welcome, Precious ISBN: 9780439557023
* Grimes’ most recent book, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope is on the New York Times Best Seller List.
* http://www.nikkigrimes.com/ There are teaching guides available for each of Grimes’ books at her website.
*Also illustrated by Cabrera
Stichin’ and Pullin’ by Patricia C. McKissack
Beauty, Her Basket by Sandra Belton